During the pandemic, people had to become creative about where and how to exercise. So, they started to work indoors using new equipment and tools such as Pelton, iFIT, and Garmin.
Who is Min H. Kao?
Min H. Kao is a Taiwanese-American billionaire, co-founder of Garmin, and philanthropist.
Min H. Kao was born in 1949 in a small town in Taiwan named Zhushan. It is located on the south shore of Zhuoshui River, the longest river in Taiwan. He graduated from National Taiwan University with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering before serving in Taiwan's navy and immigrated to the United States in 1973.
In the United States, he attended the University of Tennessee on a graduate teaching fellowship, where he received his master's degree and a doctorate in electrical engineering in 1974 and 1977, respectively.
In 1989, Gary and Min created Garmin.
Min Kao has helped build technology for NASA and the US Army.
After working with other companies, he partnered with his coworker Gary Burrell and secured $4 million in financing from Kao's associates in Taiwan and began their company in Kansas in 1989, which they called Garmin in 1991 from a combination of "Gary" and "Min."
A company that specializes in designing and manufacturing navigation and communication equipment.
The company went public in 2000.
In 1991, during the Gulf War, the US Army became their first customer.
By 2000, the company had sold three million GPS devices and produced 50 different models. So, Min Kao and his partner took the company public.
Gary Burrell served as a CEO until his retirement in 2003, when Min Kao became Garmin's CEO. Under Kao's leadership, the business kept improving. He added wearable technology, fitness equipment, and outdoor tools.
Kao stepped down as CEO in 2012 but remained executive chairman and a board member.
Garmin created one of the smartest watches in the world.
In 2020, people started to focus on their health, prompting a wave in smartwatch purchases. Finally, Garmin delivered one of the best watches in the industry. They created watches that monitor heart rate, distance, pace, and other important metrics.
Garmin kept acquiring smaller companies and grew rapidly until they purchased AeroData in 2021, a company specializing in aircraft performance software for over 135 airlines worldwide.
In the 3rd quarter of 2021, the company revenue exceeded $1.19 billion.
Min Kao's philanthropy
In 2005, Kao and his wife gave $17.5 million to the University of Tennessee Engineering department. Most of that money was dedicated to constructing a new facility named Min Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building.
He continued to give money to educational causes. In 2014, he donated $1 million to the University of the Kansas School of Engineering, and in 2019, he donated $20 million to a nonprofit Los Angeles hospital.
He is married, has two children, and lives in Leawood, Kansas.
If you had Min Kao's money, what organizations would you support?